Blow Out (1981)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller, Paranoid Thriller, Political Thriller  |   Run Time - 107 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Michael Betzold

Blow Out is Brian DePalma's glossy send-up of Michelangelo Antonioni's 1960s art-house classic Blow-Up. In Blow-Up, a London fashion photographer unwittingly shoots footage of a murder plot; in Blow Out, a movie sound technician records a killing that's part of a wide-ranging political conspiracy. The intricate plot is typical of DePalma and has unmistakable parallels with Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation (1974), also a version of Blow-Up. The cast includes John Travolta in his first serious major role, as well as DePalma favorites John Lithgow and Nancy Allen, in her last memorable part. Blow Out has all of DePalma's flashy camera techniques but keeps the director's customary gratuitous violence under some control. Most critics thought it was one of his most successful and intriguing films, though it didn't do well at the box office.